The Rio Grande!

The Rio Grande is a wonderful river. It is the second longest in North America. Only the Mississippi surpasses it’s lenght. Getting it’s start in the San Juan mtns. of Colorado,it tumbles free, cold and wild until just above Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it encounters it’s first lake/dam. The area around Taos, NM is a boaters paradise. There are many sections of this part of the river that are for expert kayakers only (the Upper Box section)- many consider on the verge of being unrunable, and then the Lower box, (which I have done in a large raft and I am getting the nerve to try it in my Yak) and then there are many sections below this that are PERFECT for packrafts. It is a two hour drive north from Albuquerque, and I think roughly two hours south of the CO border. (give or take). I have rafted the Pilar section known as the Racecourse many times, I look at flow more then weather conditions. This part isn’t really a wilderness area, as it is next to the road but it makes for a great shuttle situation. The river section north of Pilar consists of part of a “Wild and Scenic River area”, protected by congress forever and ever. If anybody by chance travels near these parts this summer, feel free to PM or email me if you want someone to tag along. (Or drive). I plan on showing the Alpackas a lot this summer, as I have generated some intrest just by rafting there last weekend. Everyone wants to know what these boats are! I love it… We are expecting record setting flow this summer due to record setting snowpack in Colorado. (duh) :wink: Anyway, hopefully I can meet a few of you on the river this year. Take care and be safe everyone.

Hello packraftnewmexico,
After our last discussion I probably left you wondering why the heck you’d want to paddle with an invalid like me. Well, it turns out I’m not so bad off as I thought on the Rio Grande and I’m getting better everyday. I signed up for guiding classes up here in Taos, to learn the river, and have been down the river 3 times so far. While I haven’t gotten my yak wet on the river I do paddle up at Eagles Nest every few days. Gaining confidence and a few more trips down the river and I should be up to respectable paddling ability for the racecourse and in a month or so the lower box. If I survive the guiding course I’ll be taking the swiftwater rescue course so I’ll be able to handle whatever the upper box can throw at me then maybe we could attempt a full Rio Grande trip. Yup, looked into it and it turns out that as private boaters the river is wide open from Colorado mountain peak to the Gulf coast except for one possible glitch at Cochiti Pueblo, but I don’t think they’d mind seeing a few human rubber duckies paddling across their lake. If you’re still interested I’m always up for getting my yak wet. P.S.- Will provide snacks and rides.

I think the Upper Box is out. Much too dangerous. I do believe the only ones who run it are expert hard shell kayakers. Also, the entire Rio Grande at once would take a very, very long time. I am a family man with two young kids and would not be able to do it for many , many years. (After retirement, maybe?) as far as Cochiti Lake, if it’s windy at all, it would be miserable. Having said that, I am into the Racecourse, and POSSIBLY the Lower Box, depending on flow. I have done the Box several times in a large raft, and there are some big scary rapids that would make for a tough swim. White Rock Canyon seems really cool. I plan on rappelling from Otiwi Bridge into my raft, and then hiking out Frijoles Canyon into the Bandaleir Nat. Park for take out. I just got back yesterday from a three day trip down the Rio Chama. Now THATS an awesone trip. Not too scary in the way of rapids, plenty of class two and a couple lower threes, several being fairly long. The canyon wilderness experiance is something to behold. Extremely beutiful and remote, There are no permits needed for that trip prior to May 1st. I plan on making it an annual run in late April every year. After I get back from Wyoming and get a day I’ll head up and meet ya at the Racecourse!

For me right now I’m happy with the racecourse the OV and absolutely the Rio Chama. Still gonna take me some time to gain the skills and nerve to try the lower box. The Middle Box is supposed to be a pretty nice float with a few rapids here and there, but I haven’t been on it yet. The whole Rio Grande trip is a long term goal and I’d be flippin’ crazed to try it with my meagre skills. Well today I had my first dumptruck at Souse Hole, the river sure is pretty when seen from below but it shook me a bit I’ll admit. Might be that the winds were blowing something fierce and I decided to try the Racecourse without my pack tied to the bow for counterbalance to see how my Yak handled. The Rock Garden in the Lower Box scares the living daylights outta me when I think about running it in my Yak, that fishhook just wants to eat anything smaller than a Choctaw. As for the Chama I plan on tagging along on every overnight raft trip I can. I don’t think I could ever get tired of that area so if you want some company on any of your trips up that way I’m all in. Now if we can get in with Dell, who manages that stretch of river, we might even be able get special access to help out with things like geological surveys, campsite improvements and such. I still have to make it to White Rock but I’m sure I’ll get there when the season picks up. So far at Los Rios it’s been mostly Lower Box trips and the Racecourse for us newbie guides, sure wish they’d let me guide the Chama all summer. I’d be perfectly happy with that. Since you’re an authorized Alpacka salesman you’ll be happy to know that there are some serious rumblings beginning to stir in the raft guide community up here about our space age butt-boats. It might be nice if you could put together a demo trip for some of the guides, even the ole’ bucket boaters are rather intrigued with Alpacka Rafts. One of the guides at Los Rios says it would be a good idea to learn to hardshell kayak the Rio Grande to gain the skills for packrafting the box and to be able to practice rolls to transfer those skills to a packraft. Now for the biggie goal, the Rio Pueblo first descent in a packraft, class V’s and VI’s. Oh yeah and Roman Dial’s book just came out in the electronic version, have you had a chance to look it over yet? Most all of the trips in that book are still way beyond my present skill set but I sure do want to get to the point where I could try something like a 1000 mile packrafting trip. Hope to get a chance to paddle with you when you get back from Wyoming. Just be prepared the river’s rising like crazy 2360cfs today and everything seems twice as big as yesterday. In fact everything seems twice as big as the day before, most everyday lately, except Big Rock which seems easier as the water level gets higher, some are even shooting the toilet bowl now.